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If Mikel Arteta is good enough for David Luiz…

David Luiz has again hailed the coaching chops of new Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta. If the Spaniard is good enough for Luiz, he’s good enough for me.

Mikel Arteta is now into his fifth month as Arsenal head coach. He has only managed games in the first three of those months, but his work behind the scenes is still having an impact on the club and creating an impression with the players.

Arteta might not be able to work on the training ground, but he is said to have been hugely influential in the Gunners agreeing to a 12.5% pay cut for the next year, the only Premier League club to have done so thus far, has led video chats with all of the players, ensuring that the squad is connected and focused ahead of the planned resumption of the season, and has spoken empathetically and humbly about contacting the coronavirus himself and his experiences.

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These show intangible coaching qualities: intelligence, self-awareness, empathy, leadership. It is difficult to quantify the true impact of these characteristics. But it is making an impression of those he works with.

In April, centre-back David Luiz highlighted just how brilliant Arteta has been despite his young age. Speaking with Addidas, Luiz said:

“Mikel is doing amazing, I am enjoying being almost 33 years old and still learning and improving and to see how beautiful football is <…> Mikel, he brings a philosophy where everybody has to think for the best of the club, and make the club shine again. Everybody, not just players, everyone has to breathe this oxygen. It doesn’t matter where or when we lost it, we bring it back.”

This is not the first time that Luiz has spoken glowingly about his new manager. After a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in late-December when Arteta had only been at the club for a matter of weeks, Luiz told Sky Sports:

“For me, Arteta is going to be one of the best coaches in the world. I have had the opportunity to have many coaches during my career. He is intelligent, he was a player, he is clever. I think he’s going to be one of the best.”

Luiz then echoed those bullish comments when speaking to the Arsenal club website during the February winter break:

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“He knows football, he knows inside the pitch. He loves football, he loves to work, so this enthusiasm is contagious for everybody. What Mikel is trying to build is something big and I really believe in his philosophy, I really believe we can do something big this year and in the future, so I’m really, really happy because we have our way to go. This way, is it going to be a hard way? Yes. Is it going to be difficult to achieve? Yes, but it’s possible. Yes, it’s possible.”

This is one of the most experienced footballers in the Premier League. He has won four league titles at three different clubs, a Champions League, two Europa Leagues, eight domestic cups. He has worked with the following managers: Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Rafa Benitez, Guus Hiddink, Laurent Blanc, Maurizio Sarri, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Dunga, Tite. He is a renowned winner.

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If Arteta is good enough for David Luiz, he is good enough for me. That should provide Arsenal fans with great hope for what is to come.

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